The Unsung Heroes of the Hanoi Summit

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryThere has been a lot said about the Hanoi Summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump. Many have likened the summit to a dismal failure and a “missed opportunity.” In my view it was a disaster averted for the United States. I am glad that Trump walked away from what I saw would have been a disastrous mistake for the United States. But I do not credit Trump for walking away. I highly credit his advisers John Bolton and Mike Pompeo for seeing this as a trap that would only benefit North Korea and China. The North Koreans never had any intention of giving up their nuclear arsenal, and what Kim really wants is to keep those nuclear weapons he already has. This is North Korea’s version of “denuclearization.” Further, if America signed such a flawed deal with North Korea, then China would also benefit by being able to conduct “legal” trade with North Korea if United Nations’ sanctions are dropped. Worse, this would strengthen the hand of the political left in South Korea which wants to break South Korea from the U.S.-South Korea alliance and form a confederation with North Korea that would be under the control of China.

This is what Bolton and Pompeo saw, and the dangers of losing South Korea and an important link of the U.S. military umbrella protecting Japan and much of Northeast Asia from China. They were thankfully able to persuade Trump not to enter such an agreement. One other thing that Bolton and Pompeo saw was that with North Korea’s track record, the North Korean regime would have cheated on this agreement even if it was in their favor, while the United States would be bound to such a bad deal. It was better that no deal came out of it. It also means that the United Nations’ sanctions are still in place with North Korea, and that this will make it harder for China to take control of South Korea since even with a leftist administration in power in South Korea there is a growing conservative backlash against the current South Korean presidency of Moon Jae-in. If South Korea is broken off from the U.S. military alliance, then it would in fact cost way more to defend Japan and therefore Hawaii and the U.S. territory of Guam from not only North Korea but especially China. In my view, we have much to be thankful for what John Bolton and Mike Pompeo have done for this country and in the long-run for our allies Japan and South Korea.

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